Estimation Models for the adoption and use of information technology: internet-related technologies at firm level in the Portuguese and European context

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Nowadays it is consensual that information technology (IT) has a significant effect in the productivity of firms. However, this contribution can only be accomplished if, and when, the new IT are widely spread and used. Understanding the determinants of adoption and use is a fundamental question, not only for economists, but also for society in general. With this dissertation we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the determinants of adoption and use of IT, particularly Internet-related technologies, at firm level; for that we developed eight studies. The first one (Chapter 2) is a review of literature of IT adoption models at firm level. We also developed four studies in the Portuguese context. The first was a comparison between the determinants of adoption of a simple technology (web site) and a complex technology (e-commerce) (Chapter 3). The second was a comparison of the determinants of web site adoption in small and large firms (Chapter 4). In the third study, we analysed the factors that explain three levels of adoption (Internet, web site and e-commerce) in small firms (Chapter 5). In the last study in the Portuguese context, we developed a model for understanding Internet business solutions (Chapter 6). For the European context, we developed three studies. In the first study we characterized e-business by clusters in EU27 context (Chapter 7). In the second, we compared the determinants of e-business adoption in tourism and telecommunications industries, by a model that combined two theoretical models (technology, organization, and environment (TOE) model and the Iacovou et al. model) (Chapter 8). In the last study (Chapter 9) of the dissertation, we presented an in depth understanding of business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce adoption and usage in 27 European countries. The research was informed by contextualist theory to organize our proposed research model. In epistemological terms, we adopted a posture characteristic of positivism. With regard to research methodologies we used the deductive method. The theoretical framework of initial studies was base on the TOE framework. The penultimate study combined TOE and Iacovou et al. models, and the last study used the theory of contextualist.
We concluded that the TOE framework is a solid theoretical basis, with consistent empirical support, and the potential of application to information systems (IS) adoption. This model is a good theoretical starting point for our work. The first important result is that Internet, web site and e-commerce adoption decisions are taken at different stages. Moreover, the factors have distinct effects on the different stage. The size of the firms is a variable that has a controversial impact on IT adoption decision, because some empirical studies indicate that there is a positive relationship, while other studies have evidence against this positive relationship. In our context it is an important factor. Moreover, comparing “directly” large and small firms, we conclude that these two groups behave differently and large firms tend to have advantages in early stages (Internet and web site), but they face critical challenges in later ones (e-commerce, B2B e-commerce, and ebusiness). Based on European data, the industry context seems to be more important than the country context. Furthermore, the relative importance of all drivers for e-business adoption in the telecommunications industry differs from the tourism industry, the only exception is competitive pressure. A new conceptual approach to IT adoption models based on contextualist theory seems to be a valid approach, namely on the B2B ecommerce adoption and usage.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS)
  • Martins, Maria do Rosário Fraga Oliveira , Supervisor
Award date13 Jan 2011
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2011


  • information technology
  • IT adoption
  • Technology-organization-environment (TOE)
  • Internet
  • Website
  • E-commerce
  • E-business
  • B2B e-commerce
  • Positivism
  • Europe
  • Portugal


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